Salvation is communal by its very nature. The fierce individualism found in much of what claims to be Christianity is in opposition to the Orthodox understanding of faith. The Church as the Body of Christ is where we are united in Christ, becoming part of community. The ancient Greek word Ecclesia literally means to be called into authentic community. It is within the Church that our personal transformation is intimately connected with the interaction we have with others and runs side by side with our fellow believers.
Ecclesia in modern usage refers to the Church and her role as a spiritual hospital, the place wherein we receive the healing that comes from Christ. This truth is demonstrated by the fact that we are called by the scriptures to be at peace with our brethren before receiving the Holy Mysteries. We are asked to forgive others as we would be forgiven, and are even called upon by Christ to love our enemies.
Our Christian faith can not be lived in a vacuum, for our personal transformation requires working out our salvation within community. Even the confession of our sins takes place within this community, for each time we sin, we sin against the whole of the Body of Christ. When we received the Body and Blood of Christ, we receive not just His Body and Blood, but partake of the whole body, the Church.
At the moment of our baptism we are no longer defined as mere individuals, but united in the community of believers as One Body. Therefore, Orthodox believers understand that the Christ too whom we unite ourselves is found in community, and this community is the Orthodox Church.
With love in Christ,
Photo: The Great Church of Hagia Sophia (Holy Wisdom), before the fall of Constantinople.
Sunday February 2, 2014
32nd Sunday after Pentecost. Tone seven.
Venerable Euthymius the Great (473).
New Hieromartyr Paul priest (1940).
Venerable Laurence the Recluse (13th-l4th c.) and Venerable Euthymius the Silent (14th c.), of the Kiev Caves.
Venerable Euthymius of Syanzhemsk (1470).
Martyrs Inna, Pinna, and Rimma, disciples of Apostle Andrew in Scythia (lst-2nd c.).
Martyrs Bassus, Eusebius, Eutychius, and Basilides at Nicomedia (303).
Martyr Anna at Rome.
Martyrs Therses and Agnes.
St. Leo the Great, confessor, emperor of the East (474) (Greek).
New Martyr Zacharias in Patrai in Morea (1782) (Greek).
Blessed Peter the Customs Inspector of Constantinople (6th c.) (Greek).
St. Neophytus of Vatopedi, Mt. Athos (14th c.).
St. Euthymius, patriarch of Turnovo (ca. 1400).
Venerable Euthymius of Archangelsk (1523).
St. Theodore Kuzmich of Tomsk (1864).
St. Ekvtime (Kereselidze) the Confessor (1944) (Georgia).
You can read the life of the saint by clicking on the highlighted name.
THANKS to all of you who have been able to contribute towards the support of the monastery. These difficult times of economic hardship have impacted the monastery, and those of you who have been able to donate, have been our lifeline. May God bless you for your generosity, and kindness.
With love in Christ,
The Scripture Readings for the Day
1 Timothy 4:9-15
9This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 10For to this end we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. 11These things command and teach.
Take Heed to Your Ministry
12Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity. 13Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.
Jesus Comes to Zacchaeus’ House
19 Then Jesus entered and passed through Jericho. 2Now behold, there was a man named Zacchaeus who was a chief tax collector, and he was rich. 3And he sought to see who Jesus was, but could not because of the crowd, for he was of short stature. 4So he ran ahead and climbed up into a sycamore tree to see Him, for He was going to pass that way. 5And when Jesus came to the place, He looked up and saw him, and said to him, “Zacchaeus, make haste and come down, for today I must stay at your house.” 6So he made haste and came down, and received Him joyfully. 7But when they saw it, they all complained, saying, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner.”
8Then Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold.”
9And Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; 10for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”